‘I was loved for a minute, then I was hated…’
While cinema is undoubtedly an art form, it’s main function is as an escape. Entertainment. Something to be enjoyed. The current chasm between critics and audiences is defined by the disconnect between art and entertainment. Bohemian Rhapsody, Venom and others have all recently fallen foul of critics who turn their nose up at something that is ‘merely’ entertainment. There are valid arguments for both sides of the cinematic coin. Should cinema be high art? Something used to express deep emotions and lofty ideas? Or should it be something more superficial? An act of pleasure to be enjoyed in the moment? As ever, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. For cinema to truly transcend the idea of a feature film however, to become something more than the sum of its parts, its must marry both of the above concepts. Entertainment as art. Beauty as performance. Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding…
Tonya Harding (Robbie) is self-proclaimed white trash girl who overcame huge odds to become a champion figure skater before her life fell apart in incredible circumstances. Driven by an emotionally distant mother (Allison Janney) and a violent, erratic husband (Sebastian Stan), Harding’s figure skating career is a roller coaster of bad behaviour, bad language and enormous natural talent.
Janney is astonishing as the Harding’s borderline abusive mother but Margot Robbie matches her at every turn in a performance that has to be seen to be believed. Robbie captures every aspect of human emotion from wide eyed optimism through wise cracking acceptance and culminating in desolate heartbreak. It is quite simply one of the great acting performances of the last decade and it remains a travesty that she was beaten to the Best Actress Oscar by Frances McDormand.
I knew very little about Tonya Harding going into I, Tonya but Robbie’s career best performance coupled with the assured direction of Craig Gillespie and a smart script from Steven Rogers ensures that this 2017 masterpiece has immortalised Harding and her story forever.
A memorising and unstoppable success.